Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Top choice museum in Lapa & Alcântara

Image by Greg Elms Getty Images

Set in a lemon-fronted, 17th-century palace, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is Lapa’s biggest draw. It presents a star-studded collection of European and Asian paintings and decorative arts.

Keep an eye out for highlights such as Nuno Gonçalves’ naturalistic Panels of St Vincent, Dürer’s St Jerome and Lucas Cranach’s haunting Salomé, as well as period furniture pieces like King Afonso V's ceremonial 1470s armchair and an elaborate lacquered wood, silver-gilt and bronze late-16th-century casket.

Other gems include golden wonder the Monstrance of Belém, a souvenir from Vasco da Gama’s second voyage, and 16th-century Japanese screens depicting the arrival of the Namban (southern barbarians) – namely big-nosed Portuguese explorers.

Biannual temporary themed exhibitions (priced separately, at around €6) are reached via a second entrance on Rua das Janelas Verdes, as are the stone-arched cafe and wonderfully peaceful gardens with river views.


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